Garry James Thorburn served for Twelve years in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and since 1969 has been a medals cheat,
On his medals rack Garry wears the Vietnam Medal (VM) and the Vietnam Campaign Medal (VCM) he has earned neither.
Here is the criterion for both medals:
Here is his official Vietnam Service:
His total Vietnam service shown is Forty Six days aggregate. For that service he earned the Vietnam Logistics and Service Medal (VLSM)
Here is the criterion for the VLSM.
Thorburn claims entitlement to the VM and the VCM on the basis of being aboard HMAS Hobart when it departed Australia on the 23 March 1968 for its second deployment on the Vietnam Gun Line. The ship sailed via Subic Bay in the Philippines, he was temporarily aboard HMAS Hobart to effect technical repairs. This web site http://www.gunplot.net/main/content/crew-list-hmas-hobart-1st-2nd-deployments lists the personnel aboard HMAS Hobart as being crew for its second deployment. Under the section of "Electrical Branch" "Leading Hands" Thorburn is listed.
When the ship arrived in Subic Bay the repairs had been completed, he transferred to HMAS Perth and immediately returned to Australia. He never entered Vietnam waters whilst aboard HMAS Hobart.
He departed HMAS Perth on arrival in Australia on the 10 April 1968. His time on HMAS Hobart was nine days and his time on HMAS Perth was nine days.
Here is his Record of Service reflecting these movements:
We contacted Thorburn and politely requested his reason for wearing the VM and the VCM. He took the usual path of frauds and wannabes with aggression and threats of legal action. Here are excerpts from his various responses:
"How dare you infer that I have purchased these medals. If you insist with this mater (sic) I will place it in the hands of my Solicitors
Please find enclosed a copy of my discharge certificate and on it you will notice that it lists my medals awarded to me. -Note: We have dealt with the discharge certificate further down.
How dare you insinuate that I could be a fraud, Wannabe or an imposter. I served 12 Years in the RAN from 1962 to 1972 .
You cannot possibly understand how fucking pissed off I am at the moment. I do not give a rats arse about your organisation. If you have any problem with my Vietnam Medals take it up with the Department of the Navy as they were the ones who gave me the medals. Also the RSL and DVA. Note: He blames the RAN, RSL and DVA for his offence.
I was transferred to HMAS Hobart in 1968, as LEM in charge of Sonar Fleet maintenance on HMAS Stalwart. HMAS Hobart had filled her SQS 23 Sonar Compartment up with FFO the day prior to sailing for Vietnam (REF SOP HMAS Hobart) I sailed on HMAS Hobart the following morning for Vietnam to assist with repairs to the SQS 23 Generators. I returned to Australia on HMAS Perth some 6 weeks after the repairs were completed. ( Check my service Records) Note: His service records show nine days after repairs were completed not six weeks. His total time for the repair job was Eighteen days.
In 1969 the Captain of HMAS Yarra presented me with my Vietnam Service Medals. Note: Now he blames the Captain of HMAS Yarra for his offence
Again If you have any problem with the awarding of my Vietnam Service Medals please take it up with the Department of the Navy as they were the ones who gave them to me and also set the rules for presentation of same.
Yours sincerely and very pissed off
Here is the Discharge Certificate referred to by Thorburn:
We don't know whether the Discharge Certificate is genuine, a fake, or just anomalous. Note the lower section of the Certificate shows "War Service Nil. Periods of Special Service. "Vietnam 20 Days". It then lists the "Vietnamese Medal"and the "Vietnamese Campaign Medal"
When compared to the official Department of Veterans Affairs Vietnam (DVA) nominal roll and his Service Record the "20 days" makes no sense.
It appears that Thorburn has taken advantage of anomalous RAN administration to dishonestly claim the right to wear the VM and the VCM instead of his actual entitlement of the VLSM.
During his angry "explanation" Thorburn has blamed:
The "Department of Navy"
The HMAS Hobart crew list.
The Returned and Services League (RSL)
Department of Veterans Affairs
The Captain of HMAS Yarra
A certificate of discharge
After careful analysis it is clear that Thorburn has been a medals cheat for Forty Six years. He has taken advantage of anomalous, or perhaps false (in the case of the Discharge Certificate) documentation to wear medals he did not earn.
In recent times there has been a similar case where Kenneth English of Cronulla New South Wales claimed to be a Vietnam Veteran on the basis of an inaccurate listing as being crew of HMAS Sydney during a Vietnam deployment.
All veterans are aware of their medals entitlement and as an ex RAN Petty Officer, Thorburn would also have been well aware of his entitlement. He claims that he was presented the medals by the Captain of HMAS Yarra in 1969, so his wearing of false medals included the period whilst still serving until 1974.
Thorburn has lots of nefarious reasons why he is entitled to wear the VM and the VCM but it is obvious that he has no entitlement, and has exhibited cunning and dishonest behaviour to convince all and sundry that he has earned the medals.
Ex Petty Officer and medals cheat Garry Richard Thorburn welcome to our web site.
UPDATE 30 JUL 15
Garry Richard Thorburn.
Thorburn has tracked those to blame for his improper wearing of the Vietnam Medal (VM) and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (RVCM).
Let there be no doubt every person who served in Vietnam knew the requirements for the wearing of the VM and the RVCM.
Qualifying for the Vietnam Medal required being posted to an Australian Land Based Unit or deployment on the RAN Gun Line. Qualifying for the RVCM required spending at least 181 days on land in Vietnam or 181 days deployment on an RAN Ship in Vietnam waters. The 181 days could be aggregated.
Thorburn is credited by Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) with serving in Vietnam for 46 days, very few of those days would have been in Vietnam Waters.
In 1969 Department of Defence Honours and Awards, incorrectly sent Thorburn the VM and the RVCM. Instead of returning the medals and having the error corrected, he commenced to wear them and did so for the next 46 years, full well knowing he had not earned them.
At the time he received the medals he was Petty Officer with considerable RAN training and experience. It is not plausable that he believed he was entitled to wear the medals.
After 46 years and after our exposure, he has now deigned to enquire of the Department of Honours and Awards as to his entitlement to the medals and they have responded with a letter saying "Sorry" they were in error. Here is that letter:
Be advised that we have no intention of removing Thorburn from our web site, He is a medals cheat in every sense.
It is also common knowledge that very few, if any at all, of those who served on RAN Ships and were issued with the VM and the RVCM are entitled to wear the RVCM. The granting of that medal for RAN Vietnam deployments was a monumental blunder by the RAN and the Department of Honours and Awards.
To earn the RVCM required an aggregate of 181 days in Vietnam waters. None of the Ships on the Gun Line served for 181 days in Vietnam waters.
Here is an example:
HMAS Brisbane was deployed on the Gun Line from 1 April 1971 to 11 Oct 1971 which is more than 200 days. All sailors on board were credited with 210 days Vietnam Service on their Certificates of Service, however, the Ship was not in Vietnam waters for anywhere near 210 days, nor anywhere near the 181 days required for the RVCM. We know that HMAS Brisbane during its 1971 deployment was in Vietnam waters for around 100 days. It visited Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines for around 76 days and was in between for around 34 days. Here is an example of the locations of the ship during June 1971. We have the Ship's locations for the entire period and are therefore certain of our figures.
Thorburn was a Petty Officer and he got it wrong. Department of Honours and Awards got it wrong. The Department of Navy got it all terribly wrong.
The whole matter of RAN Honours and Awards during the Vietnam era is a "Dogs Breakfast" and needs to be sorted out once and for all. It is no wonder we have uncovered so much RAN malfeasance when it comes to medals and medals protocol.